Before the war years, Kabuo's father, Zenhichi made an illegal agreement with the victim's father, Carl Heine senior. It was an agreement to an eight-year “lease-to-own” contract. Money changed hands, land was promised and terms were set. Unfortunately, the war came and the Japanese Americans were sent away to internment camp. Nothing was quite the same at wars end. When the Miyamoto has returned to claim their land, they had found out that the victim’s mother, Etta, cheated them. She sold their seven acres of strawberry land to another farmer, because of lack of the last payment during their removal. This disreputable action she took, was caused by her racist thoughts that she had toward Japanese. This has been demonstrated out in her conversation with her husband, she said, “We’re not such paupers as to sell to Japs, are we? For new clothes? For a pouch of fancy pipe tobacco?” (Guterson 119). Because of her being racist, it had cost the land of the Miyamoto and raised tension between the two families and created a motive for Kabuo to commit murder to Etta’s son as for revenge and to release his anger.
Snow Falling on Cedars opens up in the middle of Kabuo Miyamoto’s trail. A trail that deals with a first degree murder case, that Kabuo was being accused of murder of a white fellow fisherman by the name of Carl Heine. In this murder case, racism has played a very important role in affecting the judgement and outcome of the trail. As being Japanese, Kabuo has been placed under a very unpleasant circumstance. The evidences founded had lead the investigator, Sheriff Art Moran to believe that Kabuo was somehow suspicious. Together with the judgement made by the coroner of the wound on the victim’s head, which was predominantly affected by his racist thought toward Japanese....
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...their son and daughter to date or have interracial marriage. Despite the racial differences and their parents' disapproval, they still carry on their relationship in behind their parents’ back. But as time goes, their relationship could no longer be sustained. The exposure of the secret letter that Ishmael wrote to Hatsue had led to the end of their relationship. When Fujiko, Hatsue's mother discovered the letter, she told herself, "She would put an end to this business." (Guterson 227).
As a matter of fact, racism has played a big role in the novel. It has affected the life of Hatsue, Ishmael, Kabuo and their families, and it is responsible for the loss of Kabuo’s seven acres of strawberry land, and made Kabuo being accused of the murder of Carl Heine. If the people were not racist, things would not have happened as the way it has been. The murder trail of Kabuo would have never taken place. Hatsue and Ishmael would have been a happy couple together. As for Kabuo himself, he would have inherited the strawberry field and continue on to be a farmer like his father. But this is how things are in this world. Nothing is perfect. There is always a negative side to everything.
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